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Posts tagged with ‘journalism’

Transparency is the new objectivity.

David Weinberger

Six national newspapers suffer big falls in readership - Roy Greenslade →

The repercussions of the web are starting to make serious inroads in the UK, where six ‘national’ newspapers saw serious declines in the past year.

excerpt

Six national daily titles suffered sizeable falls in readership over 12 months up to June, according to the latest set of figures from the National Readership Survey (NRS).

Compared to the same period the year before, The Independent lost 26% of its daily audience. The other five losers, in descending order, were the Daily Star(-16%), The Guardianand Daily Express(-14%), Daily Mirror(-13%) and The Sun(-11%).

NRS also regards the 6% drop in readership for the free daily, Metro, as statistically significant.

Only one national title, the Financial Times, increased its audience, recording a 2% rise.

Expects several of these to go out of business in the next few years. I am betting that The Guardian and Financial Times will make it.

Gossip is no longer the resource of the idle and of the vicious, but has become a trade, which is pursued with industry as well as effrontery.

Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren, The Right To Privacy, 1890

The 100 Outstanding Journalists in the United States in the Last 100 Years » Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University →

Tremendously engrossing for a list of journalists.

The Rise of the Content Strategist - Cheryl Lowry via Flip the Media →

futuresagency (stowe boyd):

One way to know that tectonic changes are happening in an industry is to see people’s titles change when they aren’t being promoted. Newest example? Editors are becoming Content Strategists, and there is increasing demand for this ‘new’ specialty:

The Rise of the Content Strategist - Cheryl Lowry via Flip the Media

Kristina Halvorson’s Content Strategy for the Web, first published in 2009, has been a big influence, as Peter notes in his post. In her book, Halvorson defines content strategy as “the practice of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content.” How does this differ, though, from what professional content writers, editors and managers have been doing all along?

I see it as a question of abundance. When I began writing content, creation was the goal. Marketing copy. User guides. FAQs. Help systems. Writers and editors produced and published words, and moving up the chain meant managing an editorial calendar and other writers to produce ever greater sums of copy. As print gave way to the web, this became considerably easier and cheaper to do. Many companies employed (and still employ) a strategy that web usability expert Gerry McGovern refers to as “launch and leave:” produce a ton of content, and then leave it sitting there unmeasured and unmaintained. Clay Shirky calls this abundance a result of post-Gutenberg economics, in which “the cost of producing [content] has fallen through the floor… .and so [now] there’s no economic logic that says you have to filter for quality before you publish.”

However, several recent trends have contributed to organizations demanding more from content.. The Great Recession, the rise of web analytics, and the voice of the customer amplified by social networks have all given companies more tools and incentive to create and maintain “useful, usable content.” Organizations are now realizing that content ought to earn its keep — it should drive conversion (sales, donations), or reduce call drivers (solve frequent and actual problems customers have). If it doesn’t, it’s just polluting the relevance and searchability of content that does.

So, the content strategist is concerned with the full lifecycle of media, not just production or aggregation. I think this title will absorb the brief rise of ‘content curator’, because it sounds shinier.

(Source: futuresagency)

MG Siegler Says ‘Most Of What Is Written About The Tech World Is Bullshit’

MG Siegler confesses that he and many other tech writers have been doing a piss-poor job:

MG Siegler, Content Everywhere, But Not A Drop To Drink via ParisLemon

Most of what is written about the tech world — both in blog form and old school media form — is bullshit. I won’t try to put some arbitrary label on it like 80%, but it’s a lot. There’s more bullshit than there is 100% pure, legitimate information.

The problem is systemic. Print circulation is dying and pageviews are all that matter in keeping advertisers happy. This means, whether writers like it or not, there’s an underlying drive for both sensationalism and more — more — more.

Read the stories that are published in the tech blogosphere tomorrow. Are most published because the writer put in a lot of work or original thought? No, most are published because more — more — more content leads to more — more — more pageviews. 

Most are stories written with little or no research done. They’re written as quickly as possible. The faster the better. Most are just rehashing information that spread by some other means. But that’s great, it means stories can be written without any burden beyond the writer having to read a little bit and type words fast. Many are written without the writer even having to think.

I’m completely serious in saying that. 

There will be 25 stories about Google TV or something else tomorrow which will all say basically the same thing. Maybe one or two of those stories will have actual insight or information. Maybe none will. If any do, it’s the exception, not the rule.

As one of the most prolific tech bloggers over the period of a few years, I was just as guilty of this as anyone. I had a job to do, and I did it. And to be honest, I saw absolutely nothing wrong with it at the time. And if you did, you just didn’t get it.

But now I have more perspective. I was wrong.

In a field of public discourse in which 80% of everything is bullshit, the value of enlightened curation and filtration goes up exponentially. Not 80% but 10,000%. Siegler is inadvertently making the case for ‘know your curator’, while pulling down the pants of the tech blogging world.

I will leave aside any deep analysis on Siegler’s change of heart, now that he isn’t another racetrack greyhound chasing a plastic rabbit, but I will simply observe that he was in on the fix at one of the most prominent tech sites — TechCrunch — whose outsized personalities and dramatic style perhaps was a sort of legerdemain, intended to take our eyes off what was being written, and to make themselves part of the new gonzo tech news cycle instead of thoughtfully reporting on it.

Tech coverage these days tends to be fluffy, if not outright cheerleader-y, and Betabeat doesn’t work that way. When we started, I had a tech entrepreneur complain to me that because Betabeat wasn’t afraid to be negative that it “wasn’t being supportive of the industry.” I told him that Betabeat didn’t exist to support the industry; it existed to cover it. But it says something about the state of tech coverage generally that his expectation was we only write things that would benefit our subjects. Because much of the industry isn’t accustomed to being written about in terms that are anything less than glowing (and by glowing, i mean practically radioactive), some people don’t even know how to interact normally with journalists.

- Elizabeth Spiers, Hiring! Betabeat, social reporters, commercial mortgages via spiersblr

I have to agree with Spiers, the editor of the New York Observer and BetaBeat: there is a decided tendency in the tech world to pull punches, or to never punch at all. Just consider the lovefest over the Facebook IPO.

Journalists are much better at writing than they are at reading — which means that they’re really bad at seeing the value added by curating and reblogging.

Felix Salmon, How Sharing Disrupts Media via Wired.com

‘Open Science’ Challenges Journal Tradition With Web Collaboration - Thomas Lin via NYTimes.com →

A great overview of how online, communitarian, open science sites are transforming the wold of science journals, and research.

Thomas Lin via NYTimes.com

The system is hidebound, expensive and elitist, they say. Peer review can take months, journal subscriptions can be prohibitively costly, and a handful of gatekeepers limit the flow of information. It is an ideal system for sharing knowledge, said the quantum physicist Michael Nielsen, only “if you’re stuck with 17th-century technology.”

Dr. Nielsen and other advocates for “open science” say science can accomplish much more, much faster, in an environment of friction-free collaboration over the Internet. And despite a host of obstacles, including the skepticism of many established scientists, their ideas are gaining traction.

Open-access archives and journals like arXiv and the Public Library of Science (PLoS) have sprung up in recent years. GalaxyZoo, a citizen-science site, has classified millions of objects in space, discovering characteristics that have led to a raft of scientific papers.

On the collaborative blog MathOverflow, mathematicians earn reputation points for contributing to solutions; in another math experiment dubbed the Polymath Project, mathematicians commenting on the Fields medalist Timothy Gower’s blog in 2009 found a new proof for a particularly complicated theorem in just six weeks.

And a social networking site called ResearchGate — where scientists can answer one another’s questions, share papers and find collaborators — is rapidly gaining popularity.

The web is subversive and corrosive to established power configurations, and now is the time for the scientific journal oligopoly to crash.

An experiment in opening up the Guardian's news coverage →

Guardian announces ‘open newsdesk’ — paper will publish (not all) of the stories it is working on, and hope to get early guidance from readers. Definitely trying to swim upstream ahead of curation into creation.